Liam Neeson has issued a new apology after a controversy in which he admitted that nearly 40 years earlier he had prowled the streets to seek revenge after learning a close friend of his had been raped.
The actor said that he “missed the point” following his initial apology when he was accused of racism. Read his new statement below:
“Over the last several weeks, I have reflected on and spoken to a variety of people who were hurt by my impulsive recounting of a brutal rape of a dear female friend nearly 40 years ago and my unacceptable thoughts and actions at that time in response to this crime. The horror of what happened to my friend ignited irrational thoughts that do not represent the person I am. In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponized and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage. What I failed to realize is that this is not about justifying my anger all those years ago, it is also about the impact my words have today. I was wrong to do what I did. I recognize that, although the comments I made do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings nor me, they were hurtful and divisive. I profoundly apologize.”
In February, while promoting his film “Cold Pursuit,” Neeson gave an interview to The Independent in which he recalled wanting to seek revenge on a “black bastard” and took to the streets of Ireland with a bludgeon in hand.
“I went up and down areas with a cosh [bludgeon], hoping I’d be approached by somebody,” he said. “I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week — hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”
In a follow-up interview with “GMA,” Neeson apologized for his remarks and stressed he was not a racist but did not deny that the incident occurred, saying that he truly believed he would’ve hurt someone if the situation arose. He added though that no violence ever occurred.
“I went out deliberately into black areas in this city looking to be set upon so I could unleash physical violence. And I did it for maybe four or five times until I caught myself on, and it really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help,” Neeson said. “I’m not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago.”
Neeson canceled a red carpet appearance and a spot on “The Late Show” following the interview.